August 20, 2005
Indonesia to review Automatic Clemencies
18 people convicted of participating in the 2002 Bali bombings have had their sentences reduced and another was freed under a program cutting sentences of most prisoners to celebrate Indoneisan independence day. This has led to an uproar in Australia, where many of the victims lived. [Jack Chin]
Michael Dorf on Punishing Adulterers
Findlaw column here. [Jack Chin]
August 19, 2005
LA Times Wrongful Conviction Story
New Orleans Murder Rate
Why is it so high? This article begins with a story of police firing off 700 blank rounds in a city neighborhood, followed by exactly zero 911 calls. [Jack Chin]
Judge Crater Found???
A 91-year-old woman in New York died, leaving a note saying that her husband, a New York police officer and a cab driver were responsible for the murder of New York Supreme Court Justice Joseph Force Crater. Crater was a Columbia law grad, and taught at NYU and Fordham. Background on the mystery here. New York Times story and archive here. [Jack Chin]
AALS Paper Competition for Young Crim Scholars
Any section member who has been on a full-time faculty for ten years or less is eligible. Papers should be submitted by September 2, 2005 to the Section Chair, Ohio State CrimProf Sharon Davies, at email@example.com. Sharon's secretary will separate cover letters from papers and remove identifying information from all papers. Papers that will be in published form by January 2006 are not eligible. Winner will be announced at the AALS Conference in New Orleans in January. [Mark Godsey]
Ohio State CrimProf Joshua Dressler was quoted in the Dayton Daily News about the mens rea requirements the prosecution will face in its case against Ohio Governor Taft for failing to disclose golf outings and other gifts.
GW CrimProf Stephen Saltzburg expressed to AxisofLogic.com that Bush and Gonzalez should ensure that capital defendants have adequate representation and access to DNA.
CrimProf Hutton Appointed to ABA Committee
CrimProf Mary Christine Hutton of the University of South Dakota School of Law has been appointed to the Standing Committee on Armed Forces Law of the American Bar Association. Hutton joined the School of Law in 1984 and teaches criminal law and criminal procedure, evidence and advanced criminal procedure. Hutton also serves on the Board of Bar Commissioners for the State Bar of South Dakota, provides annual training for the state judges of the Unified Judicial System and is a board member for Dakota Plains Legal Services.
The seven-member committee studies and makes recommendations on the administration of laws, regulations and practices in the armed forces and the court-martial system; the protection of the legal rights and constitutional guarantees of personnel in the armed forces; and the ability of lawyers and judges in the armed forces to practice with all ABA standards. [Mark Godsey]
August 18, 2005
Ohio Governor Convicted
As WhiteCollarCrimeProf reports, Governor Bob Taft (U Cincinnati Law '76) pleaded no contest to 4 misdemeanors. Under Ohio law, a conviction based on a no-contest plea does seem to be a conviction, and usable as a predicate offense. State v. Mapes, 19 Ohio St.3d 108, 484 N.E.2d 140 (1985) (grant of habeas in this case affirmed, BTW, Mapes v. Tate, 388 F.3d 187, 2004 Fed.App. 0380P (6th Cir. 2004). Has a sitting governor been convicted of a crime and remained in office? [Jack Chin]
NC: Battered Spouses to Get Gun Information
The North Carolina legislature has passed a law requiring that battered spouses be provided information about how to get permits to carry pistols when they get protective orders. [Jack Chin]
Washington Post editorial on Bail for KKK Killer
Edgar Ray Killen, belatedly convicted of manslaughter for 1964 killings of civil rights workers in Mississippi, was granted bail pending appeal. The Washington Post editorializes against it here. [Jack Chin]
NC: Governor Denies Pardon to man he Convicted
When NC Governor Mike Easely was a prosecutor, he convicted Sylvester Smith of molestation based on the testimony of young children. As we previously blogged, Smith was released from prison when the children recanted, and said the real perpetrator was a cousin who, as an adult, is serving a life term for murder; their grandmother, they said, forced them to implciate an innocent man. Governor Easely recently denied Smith a pardon. [Jack Chin]
BTK Killer Dennis Rader Gets Life
Story here. [Jack Chin]
ACLU Complains About Business Crime Watch in Florida
Police in Fla. have been active lately in signing up businesses to help them keep an eye out for crime. We blogged earlier about cable guys joining forces with the police. Now pest control companies have agreed to train their employees to look for and report suspicious activity while they do their routes. The ACLU is not happy about this new trend. [Mark Godsey]
DNA Kills Two Birds With One Stone
Once again, DNA testing has proven an inmate innocent--this time a man who spent 21 years in prison for a rape he did not commit--and at the same time pointed to the actual perpetrator. After releasing the innocent inmate, the authorities promptly indicted the man who was implicated by the DNA results. Story . . . [Mark Godsey]
August 17, 2005
Watch Out CrimProfs--Students May Be Blogging Your Every Move
Story here. [Mark Godsey]
New Article Spotlight: Alabama's Dan Filler
CrimProf Dan Filler of Alabama has posted The New Rehabilitation on SSRN. The article is forthcoming in the Iowa Law Review, and its abstract states:
According to the standard account offered by most progressive observers of the juvenile courts, the goal of rehabilitation has virtually disappeared. While America's juvenile courts were explicitly designed to treat and rehabilitate children, these critics argue that these goals have been abandoned for a more punitive agenda. Most observers blame the demise of the rehabilitative ideal on the criminal procedural revolution of the Warren Court. In this narrative, the Court's well-intentioned decision to provide children constitutional safeguards unwittingly undermined the unique flexibility of the juvenile courts. Thus, the downfall of progressive juvenile justice policy provides yet another example of the conservative political backlash to 1960's liberalism.
The problem with this accepted history is that it is seriously incomplete. Rehabilitation remains vibrant in many juvenile courts throughout the country. This article exposes an important development in how America addresses juvenile crime: specialty courts. Drug courts, gun courts, mental health courts, and other tribunals all target offenders whose lives can be reclaimed through intensive intervention. Hundreds of such programs exist nationwide, including at least one in every state, transforming the experience of justice for tens of thousands of children. These courts are the product of local judges and other juvenile court regulars, rather than legislative edict.
Why are people ignoring this explosive rebirth of the rehabilitative ideal? It appears that scholars are looking in the wrong place to determine the nature of juvenile justice policy. The academic community has long assumed that these agendas are drawn up by legislatures, and implemented by local court officials. But as this paper explores, ordinary court functionaries - trial judges, lawyers, and other employees seeking to solve practical problems on the local level - have subverted the popular get-tough legislative agenda, and implemented their vision of sound juvenile punishment. We analyze these employees through the lens of political science literature about street level bureaucrat. We show that these individuals, motivated by a variety of things - ranging from personal policy preferences to self-interest - have actually transformed American juvenile justice policy from the ground up.
To obtain the paper, click here. [Mark Godsey]
Report Finds Problems with Forensics
Those who have studied DNA exonerations know that many types of forensic sciences used by prosecutors, such as bitemark analysis and microscopic hair comparisons, are "junk sciences" and lead to wrongful convictions. A new report reaches the same conclusion. Hear a professor and a crime lab director debate the issue on NPR here. [Mark Godsey]
August 16, 2005
NH: Undocumented Immigrants Not Trespassing
We previously blogged on New Hampshire police who were arresting undocumented immigrants for trespassing, i.e., being in a place (New Hampshire) where they were not licensed or privileged to be. Now, a state trial court has dismissed the charges, finding that the trespassing statute was not meant to apply. [Jack Chin]
Class of 2005 Catches Crook
A man who attacked a woman with a knife in Mississipi was charged after being caught on tape by a local high school's outdoor security camera. The camera was recently donated to the school as the class gift from the graduating seniors. Story . . . [Mark Godsey]